On 28 June, another major step was taken towards the establishment of the Multinational Helicopter Training Centre (MHTC) at Sintra Airbase in Portugal when the Technical Arrangement (TA), which defines the organisation, missions and responsibilities of the Centre was signed by 14 founding countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, and Sweden. The signing marks the start of the technical and logistical buildup of the centre which is expected to become a reference for multination military helicopter training.
For an initial period of 15 years, the MHTC will take over the management of EDA’s current three helicopter training programmes: the Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP), the Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC) programme and the Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course (HTIC) programme, which have been managed by the Agency for almost a decade. Those programmes are not only among the most long-lasting, recognised, and successful ever managed by the Agency, but also highly appreciated and reputed among the rotary wing community.
The MHTC will be built in the same location as the current EDA helicopter training centre, but with a fully renewed infrastructure and permanently manned with a team of 10 international staff, supervised by the MHTC Steering Board. The MHTC is planned to deliver at least 37 weeks of helicopter tactics training per year, including a multinational “Blade” helicopter exercise, a helicopter tactics symposium, and several basic and advance courses with the aim to enhance the tactical knowledge of military helicopter crews, and improve their interoperability levels, facilitating their preparation for international deployments.
Since the launch of the MHTC project in August 2019, EDA has played an active role in coordinating the harmonisation of the different agreements which form the legal, operational, and financial basis of the MHTC and its working processes. From now on, and until the MHTC Initial Operational Capability (IOC) is reached by the end of 2023, EDA will progressively transfer this role to Portugal, as the MHTC host nation, which will take over the activities under the supervision of the MHTC Steering Board, and with the support of EDA. Among the main upcoming tasks in the process of setting up the MHTC are the buildup of the infrastructure in Sintra and the establishment of a contract with a service provider for the provision of a training simulator and instructor capacities to support the Centre’s activities.